The Drum Beat
A Saturday afternoon matinee in Mackey Arena saw the two preseason favorites for the B1G title square off.
Both teams started cold, and Purdue led 9-4 at the first media timeout. Coming out of that break, Mason Gillis hit 3 from the top of the key, Jaden Ivey hit a runner in the lane, Trevion Williams then hit a 3, followed by another Gillis 3. That was an 11-4 burst over about a two-minute span that gave the Boilers a “comfortable” 20-8 lead with 12:27 remaining in the half and saw Michigan coach Juwan Howard call his first timeout.
The Wolverine’s came out moving the ball with more authority and finding teammates open beyond the three-point line – with the Boilermaker defenders lagging behind in their rotations. The barrage of made 3’s seemed unending, and Michigan trailed by a point – 32-31 – at the under eight media timeout – which actually took place with 4:10 left in the opening 20 minutes of play.
There were several long stretches where the game clock ran, and no stoppages of play occurred.
“There were a couple of times we had subs at the scorer’s bench for more than three minutes” said Purdue Coach Matt Painter. “It really messed up our substitution patterns a few times.”
Both teams were playing efficiently, and the officials were letting them play – both ways – and that led to a pretty quick first half. The Boilers ended the half with a 7-2 run to hit the lockers up 39-33.
While Mason Gillis scored all 8 of his points in the two-minute span early in the game, his contributions were far from over in this game.
During the first four minutes of the second half Gillis, a sophomore from New Castle, took two charges. Later in the half, he was called for a foul on what should have been his third taken charge of the game.
“I’ve been pleading with our guys to take charges” Painter reflected, “and Mason takes two – should of been three – charges, and that kind of set the tone for us”.
Gillis added four rebounds (two each) and a lot of plus plays in his almost 34 minutes of court time.
Purdue (20-3, 9-3) led 53-44 after an Ivey highlight reel dunk and a Williams layup in transition, which caused Howard to use another timeout with 14:27 remaining.
As with several Purdue games of late – especially in the conference – things are never really “comfortable” with this Purdue team.
The Wolverine’s (11-9, 5-5) pressed a good portion of the remainder of the game and that once again caused Purdue significant problems including a ten second violation (and a couple closer) and a few turnovers. Boilers did shoot 17-21 from the free throw line – something they have struggled with lately – and closed out the game against the talented Wolverine’s.
Michigan sophomore Hunter Dickinson almost single handedly kept his team in the game. The 7-1 center took inspiration playing against two of the top Big Men in college basketball and turned in one of his better performances this season – a season where he leads the Wolverine’s in scoring (17.5) and rebounding (8.2). He had hit nine 3’s before today’s game and was a toe on the line from hitting 3 in the first half.
Dickinson was a thorn in the side of Purdue all afternoon enroute to 28 points on 12-17 shooting. DeVantè Jones added 13 and Caleb Houstan had 11 for the Wolverine’s.
Jaden Ivey was electric for the Boilers in the win. 23 points, six rebounds, AND seven assists, and he tried to take all ten spots in tonight’s ESPN Top Ten plays between dunks, alley-oop passes to Zach Edey and Williams, and even a couple of almost spectacular plays where he lost the handle.
Edey did almost all his damage in the first half, recording 13 points and 9 rebounds (six offensive). He was limited defensively by some first half foul trouble, and Dickinson shooting from 3-point range. In the second half when Michigan was pressing, Williams passing skills were needed.
Williams played very well with 19 points and 8 boards. Sasha Stefanovic hit several timely baskets and kept the Boilers moving forward and had 9 points.
Purdue Coach Matt Painter earned his 400th career coaching victory. Purdue became the first team in the B1G to reach 1000 regular season conference wins.
Purdue Never Trails in 82-76 Win over Michigan – the 1000th Conference Win in Program History. Painter also reaches milestone.
Tuesday night Purdue hosts league leader Illinois, a team they beat in overtime in Champaign last month. Then Thursday, Purdue travels to Ann Abor to meet the Wolverine’s for the second time in six days. Covid has caused some condensed schedules.
Michigan meets Penn State Tuesday night in State College before hosting the Boilermakers.